A depleted Lakers squad ran out of gas in a 124-122 overtime loss against the Milwaukee Bucks. The loss came although the team shot at 51 percent from the field and 21 second-chance points.
Forward Kyle Kuzma earned his 17th double-double this season with 27 points and 12 rebounds. Guard Josh Hart returned to the fold from his hand injury to lead with 13 rebounds.
“We weren’t getting stops, We weren’t playing together as a unit,” Hart said. “They are a great team [and] a playoff team in the east, but we know we could’ve played better.”
Guard Eric Bledsoe scored 39 points and NBA All Star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo earned 16 rebounds.
Forward Channing Frye made his Lakers debut in the match up, he missed 13 games due to an appendectomy.
The Lakers starters had momentum until the first timeout. Then the Bucks retaliated with a 10-2 run, spearheaded by forward Khris Middleton. The forward would score 15 points in the first quarter, aiding the Bucks to have a 39-34 lead.
Milwaukee a competitive force in the second quarter. The Lakers made bad passes to the benefit of the Bucks, Antetokounmpo would keep the game out of the Lakers reach, scoring nine points in the period. Caldwell-Pope was ejected out of the game after receiving two technical fouls. He had two hard falls and had confronted an official about the alleged lack of foul calls, center Brook Lopez had to restrain him.
“I was told that the reason that [Caldwell-Pope]—when he got hit across the face—wasn’t a foul was it’s unintentional,” said Lakers head coach Luke Walton. “If the player didn’t mean to hit the other guy in the face, it’s not a foul, so that was good to learn.”
Bledsoe and Middleton continued to outsmart the Lakers defense, expanding their lead to 18 points in the third quarter. Lakers players suffered from bad passes, Milwaukee would get a 10-point benefit with their five turnovers.
Alex Caruso came on the court and shifted the energy of the Lakers game play getting three assists in six minutes. His contributions spilled over in the fourth as he sent passes to Zubac to score key baskets. Zubac would ultimately earn 16 points.
Caruso, Zubac and Kuzma whittled away a 14-point lead to tie at 104 with 6:25 left in the game. The Bucks was held to nine points for most of the fourth quarter.
“Those are two guys that really know how to play the game of basketball,” Kuzma said about Caruso and Zubac. “They know how to make a simple play. Caruso came in and did a helpful job and especially [Zubac].”
Yet Antetokounmpo and Bledsoe still rallied as the Lakers defense intensified. Ingram and Randle returned to the court to help on both sides of the ball. A dunk by Antetokounmpo kept the game outside of the Lakers grasp, but Randle tied the game with a layup. Either team was able to execute at the basket with seconds left on the clock. Regulation ended with a tie at 112.
To open overtime, Bledsoe singlehandedly administered an eight-point run. Meanwhile, the Lakers went scoreless for around three regulated minutes. Randle, Hart, Kuzma fought back from the nine-point deficit, but Milwaukee had the edge when the clock ran out.
“We were a little short handed today, we didn’t have a lot of guys,” Zubac said. “The guys were tired and we didn’t make shots.”
The Lakers will face the Sacramento Kings on Easter Sunday at 6:30P.M. in the Staples Center.